Education: Gazoomphing Gyver

The original version of the Oxford English Dictionary is composed of 15,487 pages parceled into ten volumes containing the history of more unusual words than even William F. Buckley Jr. could ever use. From 1884 to 1928, the contents of the O.E.D. had accreted with the steady persistence of stalactites. The aim was to list all the "common words" in written English from about the time of Alfred the Great, together with illustrations of their usages through the centuries.

The steady drip of words continued through wars and economic disasters. Staff members and volunteer...

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